Feds launch crackdown on bad debt collectors
Consumer complaints include threats, racial slurs
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will have new supervision authority of the largest collection agencies in the country at the start of the year.
The bureau’s new assignment officially takes effect on January 2, 2013.
Under a new rule announced in October, “any firm that has more than $10 million in annual receipts from consumer debt collection activities will be subject to the CFPB’s supervisory authority.”
About 175 debt collectors, which account for more than 60 percent of the industry’s annual receipts in the consumer debt collection market will fall under the CFPB’s supervision.
CFPB investigators will make on site inspections to make sure collection firms are following standards set under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
The move comes in the wake of thousands of consumer complaints documenting telephone messages from debt collectors that are aggressive and many times threatening.
Last year the Federal Trade Commission received 150,000 consumer complaints regarding debt collectors that went too far.
One recorded message to Teletha Williams, a central Florida middle school teaching assistant was insulting.
"Why don't you change your last name from Williams or Daniels to debtor. Teletha Debtor that would be a good name," the call stated.
Williams says the calls came at all hours of the night. She was late on a $200 phone bill.
“Millions of consumers are affected by debt collection, and we want to make sure they are treated fairly,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray.
You can find information on consumer rights regarding debt collectors at the Ask CFPB database at www.consumerfinance.gov.
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